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Last Updated: Monday, 21 August 2006, 06:40 GMT 07:40 UK
JonBenet suspect lands back in US
John Mark Karr on board the plane

An American schoolteacher held in Thailand on suspicion of killing US child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey 10 years ago has arrived back in the US.

John Mark Karr, 41, was escorted on his direct flight from Bangkok to Los Angeles by US security officials.

The six-year-old girl was found beaten and strangled in her Colorado home in a case that gripped America.

Mr Karr has said he was with JonBenet when she died, but insists her death was an accident.

Champagne

Mr Karr was joined in the business class section of the Thai Airways passenger jet by US law enforcement and immigration officials.

The flight was also crammed with journalists keen to observe the man accused of carrying out a crime that caused a media furore in the US.

Upon his arrival the other passengers disembarked and US customs officials boarded the plane to process Mr Karr's arrival separately.

He was then flown by helicopter to a high-security Los Angeles County jail complex, where he is expected to spend one night before being transferred to Colorado, where JonBenet's family lived when she was killed.

The vast majority are here trying to help the kids, but some are here for sex, booze and drugs
Frank Moore
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Mr Karr was not handcuffed on the flight from Bangkok and drank champagne and dined on deep fried prawns and duck during the journey.

He chatted with the officers escorting him and appeared relaxed, but stopped smiling and stared into his lap when news reporters turned on their cameras.

Mr Karr did not answer questions but thanked one reporter for saying he had looked her in the eye when he talked to her earlier.

Evidence

It has emerged that police in America are examining a 1982 yearbook signed by Mr Karr for clues that may link him to the crime.

John Mark Karr
John Mark Karr says he was with JonBenet when she died

The yearbook entry ends with Mr Karr saying in block capitals, "Though, deep in the future, maybe I shall be the conquerer [sic] and live in multiple peace", the CNN news website reports.

A ransom note found in the Ramsey home had ended with the word "Victory!" and was signed "S.B.T.C." Investigators want to know if that is shorthand for "shall be the conquerer".

Mr Karr was arrested at an apartment in Bangkok on Wednesday.

A US arrest warrant charges him with murder, kidnapping and sexual assault of a child.

When asked if he killed JonBenet, he told reporters: "No, I did not. It was an accident."

Mr Karr's ex-wife Lara has since insisted he was with her in Alabama for the entire Christmas period of 1996, when JonBenet died.

JonBenet's family have fought for years to clear their names of persistent accusations of involvement in the death of their daughter.

Her mother, Patsy - who died of cancer this year - had called police on 26 December 1996 to say JonBenet was missing and that there was a ransom note demanding $118,000 (62,000).

After an initial police search of the home, officers asked her father, John Ramsey, to look again and he found JonBenet's body in the basement.


SEE ALSO
JonBenet exposes Thai teaching flaws
19 Aug 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Warning on JonBenet speculation
17 Aug 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Beauty queen murder - one year on
26 Dec 97 |  Americas



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